I don’t want to ply you with analytics crap all day, but this is worth talking about—AVB on Prozone:
“I don’t use it because I don’t believe in it,” Villas-Boas said. “Sometimes certain tasks might not achieve specific physical data that rewards premium efficiency in terms of a physical performance.
“You have to be careful with statistics. I have never used Prozone and I know people will be surprised by that. Sometimes you get a tag and you can’t get rid of it.
“Of course we have a scientific department but we don’t prepare our training or players based on the physical data we get from matches. The mind and how the player feels is much more important for us rather than statistical data.”
To which an idiot might exclaim, “SEE! Your god doesn’t believe in science!” Or something like that anyway.
I could talk about what analytics is for all day, but readers of this blog know where I stand. Right now we’re in such an early stage in analytics research that the idea of telling managers what players should and should not do to win is like trying to reach the moon in a 747.
In any case, the kind of statistics Villas-Boas is alluding to doesn’t rank high on the list of interest. In-game Prozone stuff will give you some interesting information which a manager might tweak to get more from their players, but I’m willing to guess, perhaps based on Blake Wooster‘s high profile work of late, that Prozone is moving increasing toward the area of technical scouting and player recruitment and away from performance analysis.
In other words, I think the data-gathering agencies as a whole might be slowly shying away from dictating a series of mundane “shoulds” to managers versed in formations and tactics and man-management. One thinks here of Juergen Klopp’s take on in-game statistics, in which he was only concerned with how much players were running.
So good on managers who use Prozone, but even better is the manager who admits they may not even know what to look for in all that data.